Chocolate cake is my favorite. But even better than traditional chocolate cake, is the classic wacky chocolate cake. This one bowl vegan chocolate cake is traditionally vegan. So, there’s no need to deal with egg replacements or milk substitutes.

What Is Wacky Cake?

Also known as crazy cake, World War 11 cake, and Joe cake, wacky cake is a rich chocolate cake that originated during World War 11. Because it’s made with ingredients that were readily available during the time, it doesn’t include eggs, butter, or milk. Those animal products were scarce during rationing, so people had to get creative – and thus, a beautiful one bowl vegan chocolate cake was born.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Before discovering the beauty of wacky cake, I used to struggle with baking chocolate cakes. For starters, the dishes it created were always a drag. No one wants to wash multiple bowls, a pan, and measuring spoons.

Beyond that, egg replacer just didn’t do the trick. I always enjoyed the vegan cake I made, but it was somehow not comparable to non-vegan versions. It didn’t rise the same, didn’t have that light, moist mouthfeel. So naturally, I was shocked to discover a cake that removed these problems entirely! No more “making it vegan.” It already was! AND it doesn’t even dirty one bowl!

The one bowl vegan chocolate cake is actually mixed in the pan. So the pan acts as the “one bowl” – making one less dish to wash.

It really couldn’t get ANY easier.

One Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Ingredients used in wacky cake – Wikimedia Commons

The traditional method of making a wacky cake called for flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vegetable oil, white vinegar, and vanilla extract, and water.


For making a wacky cake, all-purpose flour works best. You can cut it with other flours or use whole-wheat flour, but that will change the consistency of the cake. (We’re going to do some experimenting with wheat-free options and update the post as we go! But as of now, we recommend sticking to all-purpose flour).


White, refined sugar is usually what people use to make this chocolate cake. However, it turns out decent with sugar substitutes. Just stick with dry sweetener (like monk fruit powder, raw sugar, xylitol powder, etc., if you’re going to change it up!).

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is the star of the dish. It makes the cake rich and decadent. It can be subbed with cacao powder or carob powder (though carob does have a slightly different taste).

Baking Soda

Baking soda is key to a one bowl vegan chocolate cake. Baking soda acts as the leavening agent, making the cake rise and become light and fluffy.

Vegetable Oil

Any vegetable oil works, but if it has a flavor then that will influence the taste of the cake. Personally, I love using coconut oil because it adds that subtle coconuty flavor – so bomb combined with the chocolate! Canola and grapeseed oil also work well. Really any oil that’s natural tasting should be great.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an acid that activates the baking soda. Without an acid, the cake wouldn’t rise because the baking soda would remain inactive. White vinegar can be subbed for apple cider vinegar or even lemon or orange juice.

Vanilla Extract

What’s chocolate cake without vanilla extract? (p.s., if you’re tired of spending big bucks on quality vanilla extract, it’s super easy to make vanilla extract at home!)


Water provides moisture to the cake and allows you the combine all the ingredients. You can sub the water for non-dairy milk or brewed coffee (my favorite!).

How To Make One Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake

EASY VEGAN WACKY CAKE (mixed in the pan – no bowl required)

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • large pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water (or brewed coffee for a richer cake)
  • 1 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips (optional – I add these for fun!)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (without chocolate chips) in an 8×8 inch ungreased cake pan.
  3. Make 3 wells. Pour the vanilla, vinegar, and oil into the wells (one ingredient in each well).
  4. Pour water or brewed coffee over the top and mix together well with a fork or whisk.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips (optional).
  6. Bake for 33-38 minutes.
  7. Serve with (optional) frosting, coconut cream, a berry spread, or banana nice cream.

What’s your favorite easy vegan dessert?